My THEME for the A to Z challenge 2017 is an ongoing speculative fiction story featuring telepathy.
Each letter post is titled and inspired by a commonly misused word or phrase.
A Complete 180 Degree Change
I am the only teenager in America who invites a teacher to family dinner on a Saturday night. Okay, there may be some exceptions among college students who are dating their professors. I’ve got a few years before that happens.
What? My dad lowers the book from his nose to glare at me.
Kidding. I play a song in my head. Dad tunes me out. He must have been listening so he’d know when Mr. Bennett arrives.
I’m sure that my parents being able to read my every thought was very useful when I was a baby. It’s an annoyance now. Some kids talk about being close with their family, about how they have no secrets from their parents. Yeah, right. The three of us can hear almost any thought of the others. I guarantee that I got the sex talk earlier than anyone else. I hear other kids at school thinking about it, dreading their parents talking about it. Sometimes I wish they knew what it was like to be in my shoes.
Before he can decide between ringing the doorbell, knocking, or just thinking really loud, I open the door for Mr. Bennett. My parents come to greet him a second later. Neither says hello out loud.
“Is it going to be quiet like this all night?” He whispers to me. His cardamom cologne is on extra thick tonight.
You know they could hear you think that question, right? And can hear me deciding on the answer. I stow his jacket and motorcycle helmet in the hall closet.
He’s still in shock about not being alone. Meeting my family, a whole group that not only shares his gift but are far more powerful, is blowing his mind.
We sit at the table. My parents prepared dim sum, which is his favorite food. Plus there are two dishes he’s never heard of before. He wonders for a moment how they knew, or if they knew.
Anah found out. My mother answers.
Of course. He looks at me and smiles. It’s a complete one-eighty degree change for me, having people who can read minds as I do.
I wish it were a change for me. My parents and my English teacher aren’t the only ones who have been inside my head. There’s no privacy when you’re me. I glad Mr. Bennett is at least limited to hearing. Before I met people who weren’t like my family, I seriously wondered what the purpose of clothing was on a pleasant day.
Yeah, I didn’t know people weren’t supposed to see memories of how others look naked. I had it under control for a while. Then puberty hit, not just for me, but for my classmates. They think about their own bodies a million times a day. Or about other people’s bodies. There’s a guy in my math class who is a serial peeping tom. I’d love to erase some of his memories from my mind.
Anah? You’re drifting from the group thoughts.
Mr. Bennett was discussing hearing his father’s final thoughts. He was wondering if it would be worse to die without anyone hearing those last tidbits, or if it would be scarier to die knowing that many people would hear whatever the thoughts were.
I take a bite of my dim sum. I bet that would solve a lot of murder investigations.
Ah, my mother points her spoon at me, but how would one such as us explain how they arrived at the investigation?
That’s why the HSMTF needs to be shut down. We’re useful! We shouldn’t have to hide. I stare at my cup of water while the adults lecture me about accepting reality.
What scares you the most about dying?
by J Lenni Dorner
Reference and Speculative Fiction Author
A to Z Challenge Co-Host
Operation Awesome Debut Author Spotlight Organizer